MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Before everyone starts commenting: Yes, I know the kilt is traditionally Scottish. But many sport the plaid garment during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. And many Irish-Americans have adopted the look as their own.
On this St. Patrick’s eve, I investigated whether it’s correct to forgo underwear underneath a kilt. Some say, “yes,” other say, “no.”
Back in the day, going commando was a regulation in the Scottish Military. According to the Scottish Tartans Authority, the practice of no undies has now been decreed as “childish and unhygienic.”
“The idea that you are not a real Scot unless you are bare under your kilt should be thrown into the same wastepaper basket as the idea that you’re not a real Scot unless you put salt on your porridge,” said Brian Wilton, Tartans Authority’s director, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
In the same article, former Scottish Formula One racer David Coulthard was quoted as saying, “Kilts are from the past, and so is the tradition of not wearing any underwear. I’m proud to be a true Scotsman. It’s a tradition that should be left alone.”
Mike Breidenbach is director of piping at Macalester College in St. Paul. He’s also a member of the Bagpipe Associates Minnesota. I asked him if he’s old school or new school when it comes to wearing a kilt.
“Well, in Minnesota it gets cold and also that wool can be kinda scratchy,” Breidenbach said. “So I’ll let you figure out the answer.”
Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder said there’s no law that says you actually need to wear undergarments.
“However, if you engage in behavior where the kilt is no longer adequately covering you, and you expose yourself, that’s where the law becomes active,” said Elder.
The punishment for indecent exposure is a misdemeanor as long as you haven’t been convicted of it twice in the previous five years or three times in the last ten.
Elder said it’s not something he’s ever had to deal with. But his advice: “Keep yourself covered. I don’t care how you do that, it’s just best to not test your luck.”